Student name: Jack Procter
Project title: A Prototype designed to analyse the accessibility and user friendliness of system-driven video games
Course: BSc (Hons) Computing (Games Programming)
The rationale was to evaluate the user-friendliness and accessibility of mechanically complex videos games. The development focus throughout the project’s timeline was creating a prototype of a resource management game. It was through this framework that data regarding the playability of its genre was tested, this was facilitated via quantitative and qualitative data collection.
The motivation behind designing the project the way I did, was spurred by my personal enjoyment of resource-management games. It was this prior engagement with and knowledge of the genre that gave me the concept for the project. The genre has a clear perception of being unapproachable to amateur players, I wanted to test this notion and examine what lengths could to taken to aid in teaching game mechanics and concepts to new players.
Research was conducted via the combination of analytics within the gameplay, and a questionnaire. Using mixed methods for data collection allowed for a complete understanding of the results gathered. From these results it was found that given the framework that was present within the prototype the participants who were inexperienced with the system mechanics present, displayed a high degree of understanding and proficiency with them.
The game itself is modelled after, in terms of its mechanics, the Anno series. Primarily focused on the establishment of supply lines and the granular refinement of goods, this style of game rewards those with acumen and a sense of planning. Various aspects of the gameplay were stored, from the total number of structures built to the time taken to complete each set of objectives. The aim behind collecting data of such varying scopes was to build a comprehensive picture of each player’s experience, from which trends and patterns were mapped.
To build this prototype I used Unity Games Engine. The overall outcome of the project was a positive one. Of those who participated a number demonstrated proficiency with its mechanics. The concepts themselves were alien to many of the players, meaning such a result inspired more confidence that I had initially expected. I would love to see further research into utilising the interactivity of the medium, as a means of teaching in a variety of contexts.
See it for yourself
On Jack’s website you can find a link to download a playable build of the prototype.
My time at University
University has acted to focus my mindset on forging and maintaining a strong work ethic, that has ensured that I have provided work of a substantive quality. I have learned a great deal from the faculty, and I hope to take the lessons learnt into future job ventures.